Exercise has a deleterious effect on the phenotypic expression of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) and increases the risk of sudden death. The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence and correlates of exercise-induced arrhythmias during exercise tolerance test (ETT) in patients with ARVC. Between 2010 and 2019, 30 (47% males, mean age 42 ± 12 years) consecutive patients with a definite diagnosis of ARVC underwent a full genotypic and phenotypic characterization at our center. Exercise-induced arrhythmic response (EIAR) was defined by the development of complex or repetitive ventricular arrhythmias after stage 2 of exercise. A heart rate ≥ 85% of predicted was achieved by 23 (77%) patients. In 16 (53%) cases, a desmosomal pathogenic variant was found [most commonly PKP2 (n = 7) and DSP (n = 3)]. In 12 (40%) cases, an EIAR was observed. In 2 (6%) patients, ETT was interrupted due to the onset of ventricular tachycardia (sustained with a LBBB/inferior axis pattern in one case, and non-sustained LBBB/superior axis pattern in the other). Mean body surface area (BSA)-indexed left ventricular (LV) end-diastolic volumes (EDV) were higher in the EIAR group (92 ± 12 ml/m2 vs 80 ± 7 ml/m2, p = 0.002), as well as right ventricular EDV/BSA (110 ± 18 ml/m2 vs 91 ± 27 ml/m2, p = 0.04). Subepicardial/mid-wall LV late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) was more common in the EIAR group (67% vs 22%, p = 0.01). ARVC patients commonly exhibit exercise-induced ventricular arrhythmias. Patients with more significant RV remodeling and LV involvement (based on the presence of LV dilatation and LGE) appear more susceptible to exercise-induced arrhythmias.

DOI: 10.1007/s10554-021-02395-w